"Inglourious Basterds" is a humorous and bloody homage

Aug. 24, 2009, midnight | By Amir Gorjifard | 11 years, 11 months ago

Tarantino successfully ventures into the taboo territory of Nazi-occupied France

When people think of a film set in World War II, they usually expect an accurate depiction of troubling times in history. This preconceived notion is thrown in the trash in Quentin Tarantino's "Inglorious Basterds," which brings an altered reality to the events of Nazi-occupied France that some will love and others will merely find gruesome.

The film is divided into separate and loosely related chapters that show the stories of two groups attempting to kill Hitler. Neither group is aware of the other's existence, but their plans coincide perfectly. One group is a battalion of Jewish American soldiers led by Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) that proudly goes by the name of the "Basterds." The Basterds have one mission only: to brutally deform and kill as many Nazis as possible. French cinema owner Emmanuelle Mimieux (Melanie Laurent) leads the other group. Mimmieux, secretly a Jew, develops a plan to burn down a Nazi-packed cinema during a private screening with vast amounts of highly flammable nitrate film. Raine's team discovers this opportunity and plans to kill Hitler at the same time. What follows is a plethora of twists, witty dialogue and gore, as well as a thoroughly unexpected ending.

Tarantino's primary accomplishment in this film is his eloquent mixing of brutal, realistic violence with Oscar-worthy dialogue. One second the viewer will grimace at the scalping of a Nazi and the next, he or she will laugh at an extended verbal joust between characters. Tarantino's use of 360-degree camera movement and deep classical orchestra music during particularly important conversations makes the intensity of the dialogue as profound as the Nazi blood dripping from Lt. Raine's overused knife.

The film opens with a power-packed performance, as Colonel Hans Landa, one of the most fascinating and intriguing Nazi villains, is played perfectly by actor Christopher Waltz. Landa is a paradox: verbose but soft-spoken, kind but ruthless. Christopher Waltz's realistic and compelling performance is Oscar-worthy; his facial expressions make the viewer keep forgetting he is, in fact, a feared Nazi "Jew hunter." Instead, he appears similar to a friend with whom one would share milk and cookies. The lead roles in the movie are played masterfully as well. Brad Pitt's performance as Lt. Aldo Raine shines a new light on what a war hero is and his under bite and southern accent make him a tough but loveable character.

Though easily one of the best movies of the summer, minor instabilities with "Basterds" still exist. One such fault is Tarantino's decision to have the film consist mainly of French and German dialogue. At times, viewers feel like they are watching a foreign film with American actors. Furthermore, the lengthy dialogue, though smart and witty, is exhausting, and shows signs that Tarantino simply enjoys hearing his characters talk.

Perhaps the main fault with the movie is its lack of originality. Tarantino's trademark method of showing reverence to B-rated movies from the 60s and 70s shows that he does not have a new eye in cinema. The misspelling of the title is even a direct hint to a 1970s World War II movie of the same, but correctly spelled, name. Tarantino will always be the director and writer that will bring nostalgia to older moviegoers, but he needs to ensure that modern viewers will ultimately connect with his movies.

Regardless, "Inglourious Basterds" is an action-packed, hilarious and sadistic World War II movie that is shocking, but sparkles with great acting that makes the film worth watching. Despite the language barrier, the film is truly glorious.

"Inglourious Basterds" (149 minutes) is rated R for strong graphic violence, language and a brief scene of sexuality. Now playing in theaters everywhere

Amir Gorjifard. Son of Mahmoud Gorjifard and Nahid Gorjifard, Amir can be best described by two words: gorgeous and modest. His two loves in this world are his two guitars - his acoustic guitar, E. Roosevelt (he was forced to add the E. due to an overrated … More »

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